When thinking about reducing your carbon footprint, the first things that come to mind usually relate to your home life. But you also spend a significant amount of time in your office or at your job site, so it makes sense to try and reduce your environmental impact there as well. Here’s how to create an eco-friendly office by doing these simple 4 steps.

eco-friendly-office-folder-binder

It starts with your commute

Unless you work from home, then probably most of your driving is to and from the office. The easy answer here is to use public transportation. But if your city doesn’t have a good system or if it’s not convenient for you, you can also look into carpooling groups and apps, walk or bike. If your job allows it, ask your boss if you can telecommute more often, as that will save both your pockets and the planet.

Lights out

You would be surprised to know how much electricity is wasted in offices around the country. If the IT department is okay with it, always turn your computer off at the end of the day and unplug it from the power strip to save power. If you frequently get up from your desk during the day, set your computer to power-saving mode or configure it to “sleep” after a period of inactivity. If you work during the day and have well-positioned windows, you may not need to have the lights on all the time. If you do, turn them off every time you leave the office, even if it is just for ten minutes. Check with the person responsible for buying office equipment and suggest they start buying energy-saving monitors.

Recycle smart

If your office is not doing this already, talk to your boss about placing recycling bins around the building, especially those to sort paper. Reuse old printouts to take notes or draft projects and make sure all electronics and batteries are recycled safely. In fact, if you have the authority, make it a company policy to use recycled or bamboo paper and to buy furniture made of recycled materials as well. If you need to print a document, try to make it in black and white and use both sides of the paper to minimize waste.

Bring your own lunch

Buying lunch every day is not only expensive, it’s killing the planet as well. Take-out usually comes in plastic containers, with plastic forks and in plastic bags. Bring your lunch from home and save money while saving the planet. It is also a good idea to buy a reusable water bottle and keep it with you, so you can refill it in the water cooler without wasting those little plastic or paper cups. Once you are done with your lunch, make sure to clean your containers with nontoxic and natural soap. If you can’t make an office-wide switch, you can bring your own from home.